Saturday, April 10, 2010


A majority of the people (all 5 of you!) who read my blog are adoptive parents – many who have adopted from Eastern Europe.  The current adoption situation/story that has been plastered in the headlines lately is no longer new news.  It has been firmly in my mind and heart for the last 36 ours.  News articles have reported that in 2009 alone, 1600 children came home to the US from Russia as adoptive children.  My daughter is one of those 1600 kids. 

I don’t need to belabor the story.  It’s bad.  It’s ugly.  Essentially, a 33 year single mom from TN (Torry-Ann Hansen) had her mother send her 8 year old adopted son back to Russia because of behavioral problems. 

I don’t know what happened inside the house.  The chances of a boy adopted at the age of 7, whose background included an alcoholic, abusive birth-mother and time spent in a Russian orphanage, having some adjustment issues are high.  And expected.  Any person using a reputable Adoption Agency/Home-Study agency will have completed some education classes on the risks involved in adoption.  Many of the articles claim that the mother submitted a required PPR (Post Placement Report – required for newly adoptive children from Russia @ 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and 3 years) in January claiming that all was fine.  The Grandmother is on record in many interviews as stating that only AFTER this PPR did things start to go badly.   I have a hard time stomaching this. 

The disruption of any adoption is a sad and stressful thing.  I am NOT opposed to disruption.  In many cases, it is the best possible scenario for all involved.  The disruption of this adoption is not what upsets me so much.  It’s the method in which the mother chose to go about doing it.  To put a child of 8 years old on a plane ride from Washington DC to Moscow – ALONE, with a stranger arranged to meet him and simply drop him off at a government office is completely and 100% inexcusable.  Compare this to a birth mother in Alaska putting her 8 year old child on a plane headed to DC with a note to the Secretary of Social Services – basically stating “I don’t want this child any longer.  I can’t handle him”.   Added to the fact that this child was from Vladivostok, Russia – NOT Moscow, the mother was sending him to what equates to a place he’s never seen before in his life.  Imagine the fear that child must have had. 

My Russian adoptive daughter is ALSO from Vladivostok, Russia.  So this case hits me on so many levels.  I have spent much too much time over the last 36 hours reading various news reports about this situation.  One of my “favorite” articles is this one: "Murky Laws"

One glaringly WRONG statement is the following:  “Bob Tuke, a Nashville attorney and member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, said abandonment charges against the family could depend on whether the boy was a U.S. citizen”.  Now surely, an Attorney specializing in adoption would have done SOME research on current USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) laws/policies.   It took me 3 minutes to find this clip from the USCIS website. 

“Children with IR-3 and IH-3 visas automatically acquire citizenship if:

  • they enter the United States prior to their 18th birthday.
  • they are under 18 years old, they are automatically U.S. citizens upon admission to the United States.
  • they reside in the United States with their parents (U.S. government or military personnel assigned overseas may qualify as residing in the United States)”

Therefore, it seems obvious to me that this mother should immediately face abandonment charges. 

I find articles like this exceedingly frustrating for many of the mis-leading facts that are often spread.  However, the most frustrating part of reading many of these articles online are the “comments” from other readers.  While I fully believe and support everyone’s constitutional freedom of speech, there ought to be a law against out right ignorance. 

The very best comments that I have read so far are:

- People are adopting only for the social security implications.  Really?  So the average $50K plus that people spend in both domestic and international adoptions is Monopoly $ and most of my adoptive counterparts are secretly draining our welfare system? 

- The adoption wasn’t final so this is no big deal.  Again, I have to say really?  The court proceeding that I went through in Vladivostok, Russia sure looked and felt real.  I guess I should have asked the judge if Ashton Kutcher was there and if I was being punked.  And I also guess then the adoption certificate I have and the Russian birth certificate listing me as the mother of my child are both fakes.  I should have known.  Silly me!

- Adoptive children are this decades most fashionable accessory.  While I would like to say that all parents enter adoption with the purest of heart, I can’t speak for all people.  However, a majority of the people I have met through this process truly want to help a child and expand the love in their family.

- There should be stricter criteria for adoptions/this wouldn’t happen if there were stronger rules.  HA!  I invite anyone who thinks that adoption is a simple, painless process with no requirements to come along for the ride sometime.  I have been fingerprinted more than the average criminal for my adoption!   I have seen my doctor more for tests and medical clearances more times than I care to remember!  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

I know for the usual crowd that typically reads my blog, I am fully preaching to the choir.  I have shared in your shock, amazement and fury on blogs and face book while the facts of this story continue to pour out.  I hope that maybe other’s will read this and gain a greater understanding of the situation and process. 

To my fellow adoptive families - I embrace you and love talking with you all – it’s almost like our own special sorority.  Perfect example was another Vladivostok graduate mom who left a note on my blog yesterday.  She recognized my daughter’s picture from some pictures that were taken in her son’s room at the baby home on the day he left with her.  Yup!  They were in the same room.  Here’s the picture that she shared with me. 


If she would have not cared enough, I would never have had this picture of my daughter that was taken a full 4-5 months BEFORE I even met her.  I have precious few “baby” pictures of my baby.   Thanks, Jody!  You rock!

Finally, I ask you to look at these faces.  Could you look them in the eye and say, sorry, I won’t help you because you aren’t from the US?  I don’t know many who could.


Sherrie Reusch said...

Great post, Amy! I totally agree with you about how maddening it is to read the media's ignorant comments regarding adoption. So very sad - and it is damaging to our children to read such blatant non-truths. Ugh!
I love the new photo of T - how cool is that?!
My heart goes out to all those in the process. It is so upsetting.

veryvermilion said...

Amy, what an amazing post! It sure sheds light on some of the finer details involved when adopting a child internationally. I espeically appreciate your clarification on this young boy's US Citizenship status.
Thanks for sharing your experience.

Liggett said...

I have been reading your blog for over a year now. My husband and I are actually in Moscow right now awaiting our interview at the U.S. Embassy on Monday. We are from Tennessee and were outraged by what happened. We echo the points of your post and it is amazing how misunderstood the international adoption process is by those who have not done it.

Those who we've been in contact with here in Moscow are also outraged by what happened, but are also trying to figure out a way to prevent the punishment of those of us who geniunely want a child for the right reasons. My husband and I have tried to remain a little closer to the hotel in the past two days as we aren't sure what type of reaction we might get out on the streets of Moscow right now. This woman has caused a lot of problems for future adoptive parents.

Heather said...

I have been trying to force myself to stop reading the internet comments. There is so much mis-information about international adoption. I find that as the hours have gone by since hearing this story I am getting more and more angry. I am trying to get that under control as well. I would love to show pictures and video of Blake and T to anyone who thinks that Americans should no longer be allowed to adopt from Russia. Have people read the statistics about what happens to the children who are raised in orphanges through their teenage years?!?!? Ok - I feel my blood pressure rising again. We'll chat soon I'm sure!

Nichole said...

Love your post. You said it all so well. It is all just unbelievable from what the mother did to how people think adoptions operate. Love the new picture of T, that is so awesome. Where did you get the dress with the nesting dolls on it? It is adorable.

Roy said...

As a father for only a short time yet, this story broke my heart. The look on his little bewildered face has haunted me, if anything its given me yet even more urge to be the best father my boy could ever have and I hope I can do him justice.

Wherever you go Justin, you are already loved by millions x

Thanks very much for your blog x

Bendlin Family said...

I love your post. I am still just as angry today as I was yesterday. We ALL have trying times with our children. I guess we should thank GOD that our parents didnt give up so easily on us and ship us off.

I cannot imagine what makes them think they have the right to do this to someone. American or Russian, this is a child and she should be arrested for abandonment.

Hunter and Michael said...

Well said Amy. I know ppl in the process right now who have had to turn away from Russia and our hearts are breaking over here only to have come from Vlad 8 months ago with our son. We are so grateful to have him and couldn't possibly imagine a mother doing what she did after everything we went through to bring home our son. Family is family and you just don't do these kinds of things.
Btw, fabulous pics of your daughter!

Carolynn and Steve said...

you go, girl!
(yep, I'm in the choir that you're preaching to, but I want you to know that I echo what you say 110%)

Hugs from here!

Carolynn and Steve said...

you go, girl!
(yep, I'm in the choir that you're preaching to, but I want you to know that I echo what you say 110%)

Hugs from here!

goodtimingman said...

I can hardly believe how consistently wrong the US news seem to get their facts, it seems that all the services repeat the same news. In this case, I read everywhere that the "couple" who adopted this child sent him back, when it seems clear from a few more careful sources that it was the "work" of a single mother.

Becky and Keith said...

Preach it, sister!! I've stayed away from the comments, but now I'm intrigued and feel the need to set these "uninformed" people straight. I'm so upset for so many people I know in the middle of the process and just pray this is resolved quickly.

Steve and Stella said...

You post is very nice written I am myself a mother form a little boy from Vladivostok and we finalized our adoption this past november 2009. This news of this lady, as much as I don't want to judge is very disturbing! Your post discribe exactly what my feelings are too about this situation and I am glad I did not read any of the comments of ignorant people regarding adoption.
(on a better note, which baby home is your daughter from as on teh picture, the boy in the play pen looks like the back of my son's hair..hum? just wondering)

Stella from Philadelphia

Troy and Rachel said...

Amy -Perfect post. I've been to angry and sad to even mention it on my blog. I just can't believe one woman could jeopardize so many children's chances at happiness. I'm hoping the gov't officials feel the same way - but i strongly believe she should face charges immediately for abandonment.

Sara said...

I love you Amy.

I had to stop reading the comments on this story. I'm amazed at how many truely ignorant people pay attention to the news. I feel personally insulted that this woman hasn't been arrested yet. If this woman's child were bilogical there would have been no hesitation at throwing her in jail for abandonment and child endangerment. This ignorance is thick and we need to make our voices and our children's voices heard! That poor boy is an American citizen, with the same rights and freedoms as any other American and he is now destined to grow up in a Russian orphanage - a worse fate than Ms. Hansen would see if she was sent to an American prison, which in my opinion is where she belongs.

Troy and Rachel said...

BTW Amy - I'm going to link your post to my blog - because I just can't get anything out without becoming pretty angry or crying. Let me tell you though - Troy's heard it all and so has my mother now!!!

Wendi and Terry said...

Amy, love your post. Thank you for your prayers.

Jeanette said...

Ditto on all of the above! I read 3 different ages of the mother! They can't even get that detail correct.

Stacy, Pat and Aidan said...


And one thing I thought about imeediately, is didn't anyone at the airport here (I only live 13 miles from the one used!!) think about why an 8 year old child was travelling to Russia, alone, on an "expired" visa??? That alone should have raised a flag here in the US. So many people missed this one! And like you said, the ocurt proceeding along with all of the paperwork leading up to is sure felt real, stressful, and so totally worth bringing my son home--who became a US citizen in Atlanta on April 13, 2008 and I have a Certificate of Citizenship to prove it. . .Keep preaching! We're all here with you saying, Amen!

Jennifer said...

Beautiful post!

Kristine said...

Agree with everything...very well worded. I posted today...I just couldn't find all the words and finally this afternoon they spilled out...I just had to get it out. The media can be very damaging...and people really are so uneducated about the process that we have to go through to adopt...they also have no idea about what these precious children need when they get home. This lady truly does not deserve to be called the boy's mother. She was not a a mother to him. I could go on and blood just boils.
Gonna end it there.

Tracey and Chuck said...

Absolutely agree totally!! Tomorrow will be 7 weeks since we arrived home with our little boy from Vlad. This story is just so unbelievable that I am just speechless at this point. And you are so right that people have not or are in the process of adopting just have absolutely no idea!!! I have many times since we have been home had to swollow my tongue at some questions that have been asked. Our families and dearest friends really try and really want to understand but they just don't!!! I am so thankful that we have other AP's out there to vent to/talk to etc!!! I cannot confirm but I believe that we were at the Vlad Inn on our 1st trip at the same time she was there....thankfully we did not meet her!!! Again, thank you for this wonderful post.
P.S. - How wonderful to receive that new pic of T

findingourdaughter said...

To think that after we have waited 2 years for a chance to adopt a child from Russia......that it all could be for naught...........devastating to say the least!
I know you know!
Hugs!!! Praying all our adoption dreams come true--one child, one family at a time!

Bill and Myra said...

I read your blog from time to time (as a "lurker"). You have explained the situation so well. I almost fell over at my desk on Friday when the Wall Street Journal online posted this story.

My boys were older at the time they were adopted; my youngest was 8 when he was adopted from Vladivostok in 2008; my older one was 9 when he was adopted in late 2006 (different region). The first year's adjustment with each boy was tough but now things are going well. I cannot imagine ever giving up on them and we had some tough times.

Again, thank your for your honest post.


Pam said...

Well said, Amy. I am still in disbelief over this and so incredibly sad for all of the families whose adoptions will be affected by this woman's actions. I can't believe that this woman might have been there at the same time as me! I had to stop reading the comments people were leaving on the various articles because they were making me so angry over the ignorance of so many of them. Thanks for sharing!!

Ron and Dinia said...

Hi Amy, We were in Moscow for over 4 years and had the priviledge of meeting couples traveling to Russia to adopt. Since returning to the states we have enjoyed keeping up with most of them through blogging and that is how I found your blog. Great post that certainly nails this situation. I have included a link to your post from my blog as this is such good information. Thanks for putting it all down so clearly!

Gloria said...

I am so angry I have no words to express it. Thank you for saying it so well!!

necgmc said...

Amy-Thanks so much for a very thoughtful and well written perspective! We too are so saddened that one selfish, misinformed person can cause so much pain for so many!

FYI: WACAP the agency involved has a well written fact sheet on their website. Go to, Russia tab, left column to find the news and fact sheet.

Tim said...

My wife and I just got back from St. Petersburg on Sunday from our first trip. We already have an uphill battle, because we are both 27 and not infertile. The Russians already think we are crazy, and this dumb lady is not helping us.

I think what disturbs me the most is that she is 33 and single and adopted a 7 year old boy. To me that says she wanted to receive her referral as quickly as possible. It also bothers me that she is in hiding. If she believed she didn't do anything wrong then she would not be hiding.